This year, our company, Signal Theatre was invited to the Banff Playwrights Colony. Brian Quirt, the Director of the Colony, has expanded the notion of writing here at The Banff Centre to include interdisciplinary writing — which in our case, means movement. Dance. I wrote words too. Words, intertwined with that movement.
There were fascinating conversations with other writers, creators, dramaturgs and actors about what artists go through in their individual process. We spoke of the pressures writer/artists feel to prove to society that the TIME we spend creating is TIME well spent.
My time at Banff has transformed me to know that it is in moments of peace, of feeling empty, of patience, of “sitting,” that we are often learning, absorbing and experiencing the most. I leave Banff with a first draft of my play, new friends and mentors, and a necessity for a lactose-free diet. Most importantly, I now know that it is possible to sit with nothing, till nothing is something.
For myself, this is a dramaturg’s dream. To be in constant conversation with a playwright, watching the polaroid of the play find its full color as it develops. Here, with Joanna, I was lucky enough to be in conversations about both plays, two different worlds, both evolving.
The pattern was: Write 2/3. Sit with it. Revisit it. Hate it. Throw it all away. Jose Rivera said, “Often, writer’s block happens to you because somewhere in your work you’ve lied to yourself and your subconscious won’t let you go any further until you’ve gone back, erased the lie, stated the truth and started over.”